Summary Report for:
27-3042.00 - Technical Writers
Write technical materials, such as equipment manuals, appendices, or operating and maintenance instructions. May assist in layout work.
Sample of reported job titles: Documentation Designer, Documentation Specialist, Engineering Writer, Expert Medical Writer, Information Developer, Narrative Writer, Requirements Analyst, Senior Technical Writer, Technical Communicator, Technical Writer
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Organize material and complete writing assignment according to set standards regarding order, clarity, conciseness, style, and terminology.
- Maintain records and files of work and revisions.
- Edit, standardize, or make changes to material prepared by other writers or establishment personnel.
- Select photographs, drawings, sketches, diagrams, and charts to illustrate material.
- Interview production and engineering personnel and read journals and other material to become familiar with product technologies and production methods.
- Develop or maintain online help documentation.
- Assist in laying out material for publication.
- Study drawings, specifications, mockups, and product samples to integrate and delineate technology, operating procedure, and production sequence and detail.
- Arrange for typing, duplication, and distribution of material.
- Observe production, developmental, and experimental activities to determine operating procedure and detail.
- Review manufacturer's and trade catalogs, drawings and other data relative to operation, maintenance, and service of equipment.
- Analyze developments in specific field to determine need for revisions in previously published materials and development of new material.
- Draw sketches to illustrate specified materials or assembly sequence.
- Review published materials and recommend revisions or changes in scope, format, content, and methods of reproduction and binding.
- Confer with customer representatives, vendors, plant executives, or publisher to establish technical specifications and to determine subject material to be developed for publication.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Desktop computers
- Digital cameras — Compact digital cameras
- High capacity removable media drives — Universal serial bus USB flash drives
- Notebook computers — Laptop computers
- Personal computers
- Scanners — Computer data input scanners
Technology used in this occupation:
- Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD software; PTC Pro/ENGINEER software; SolidWorks CAD software
- Computer based training software — Adobe Systems Adobe Captivate
- Configuration management software — IBM Rational ClearCase
- Data base reporting software — Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services; Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer; SAP BusinessObjects Crystal Reports
- Data base user interface and query software — Author-it; Microsoft Access; Structured query language SQL; Talisma Knowledgebase (see all 5 examples)
- Data mining software — IBM Cognos 8 Business Intelligence
- Desktop publishing software — Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign; Corel Ventura; Microsoft Publisher; PTC Arbortext (see all 5 examples)
- Development environment software — Darwin information typing architecture DITA; IBM Rational ClearQuest; Microsoft Visual Basic; Standardized general markup language SGML
- Document management software — Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat software
- Electronic mail software — IBM Lotus Notes; Microsoft Outlook
- Enterprise application integration software — Extensible markup language XML
- Graphical user interface development software — Adobe Systems Adobe RoboHelp
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop software; Corel CorelDraw Graphics Suite; Corel Paint Shop Pro; Microsoft Visio (see all 5 examples)
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Medical software — Epic Systems software
- Object or component oriented development software — Objective C; Oracle Java
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office software
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Project management software — Microsoft Project; Microsoft SharePoint software
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Web page creation and editing software — Adobe Systems Adobe Dreamweaver; Adobe Systems Adobe Flash Player; JustSystems XMetaL; Quadralay WebWorks ePublisher
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Clerical — Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Communications and Media — Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
- Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
Detailed Work Activities
- Confer with clients to determine needs.
- Review details of technical drawings or specifications.
- Draw detailed or technical illustrations.
- Design layouts for print publications.
- Edit written materials.
- Compile technical information or documentation.
- Write informational material.
- Determine presentation subjects or content.
- Coordinate logistics for productions or events.
- Monitor current trends.
- Maintain records, documents, or other files.
- Research new technologies.
- Electronic Mail — 74% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 76% responded “Extremely important.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 75% responded “Extremely important.”
- Spend Time Sitting
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 76% responded “Extremely important.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 66% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 65% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Time Pressure — 48% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 75% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 38% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Contact With Others — 30% responded “Contact with others about half the time.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 41% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 46% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 22% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 34% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 55% responded “Limited freedom.”
- Letters and Memos — 47% responded “Every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 41% responded “Moderate results.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 18% responded “Important.”
- Deal With External Customers — 45% responded “Extremely important.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 25% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Level of Competition — 42% responded “Highly competitive.”
|Title||Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.|
|Related Experience||A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.|
|Job Zone Examples||Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, database administrators, teachers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.|
|SVP Range||(7.0 to < 8.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|16||Some college, no degree|
Interest code: AIC
- Artistic — Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2014)||$33.19 hourly, $69,030 annual|
|Employment (2014)||52,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2014-2024)||Faster than average (9% to 13%)|
|Projected job openings (2014-2024)||17,200|
|Top industries (2014)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2014-2024 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Technical writers . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition.